Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stanley Steamer Gets Carpets Cleaner

This morning I got our carpets professionally steamed cleaned. It's the first time I've ever done that which is surprising for someone like me who is obsessed with keeping everything dirt and dust free. But I guess I just always thought that as long as I kept up with regular dusting, vacuuming and the like then everything would stay sparkly.

On Sunday morning Brian took his weekly jaunt with William to get coffee and doughnuts. William is so familiar with this routine that he runs into our room on the weekends and says, "Go get coffee, daddy?" It's our little weekend indulgence. Well that indulgence turned into a nightmare this weekend when William knocked over my full cup of pumpkin spice latte. It's really not his fault. I was trying to show him something on our digital camera and his still awkward toddler body couldn't make it past the coffee table to the couch without his elbows pointed out. I should have known better and moved the coffee cup to a safer location.

Finger-pointing or not, it took me most of the afternoon on my hands and knees to get the stain to a satisfactory state. But on Monday the sun was shining through the windows and I noticed the yellowish spot. Probably not noticeable by a guest in the house but definitely noticeable to this stay-at-home-all-day mom. So I made the call. I decided to do the whole house because the price was so much more reasonable than I thought. It was under $200 for everything. Plus I've had the joy of singing that Stanley Steamer jingle for the past three days.

It was a bit of a puzzle trying to keep William off the carpets this morning and I'm also going a tad crazy with all of his toys in the dining room until the carpets are drier so I'm recommending an out-of-the-house activity until nap time the next time I do this. But all in all I'm very happy with what my money got me. Maybe it's just my head playing tricks on me or maybe it's buyer's justification but every time I glance at the floors I can't believe how sparkly and clean they look.

The best part of getting my carpets cleaned is that I can't vacuum for two days. And the carpets are too wet for me to be walking around so I'm off the hook for any household chores. I may even join William in that afternoon nap!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby Belly Bump Watch: 14 Weeks

I think the stripes make my belly look bigger than it actually is. Or maybe not? I'm still fitting in my jeans so I don't care!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monster Mash: Halloween Preview

Every year Woodbury puts on a little Halloween carnival for kids called Monster Mash. We went last year but William was a little too young and very sick with the beginnings of an ear infection. This year he was older and healthy. But unfortunately he was without friends. His three cousins couldn't make it this year so he had to fly solo on the dancing floor. Here's a preview of his costume and a video of him dancing. Why do kids always look the funniest in their Halloween costumes when seen from behind?

Hot Deal Alert

Does your family go through cereal like water like our family does? And does your family refuse to get the cheaper but crappier generic brands? Then have I got a deal for you!

Right now Rainbow Foods has a special on General Mills cereal. If you buy five boxes of General Mills cereal it will cost you $10. Watch the discount signs on the shelves though because I think it's only for the 13 oz. boxes. So that comes out to $2 a box. Not too bad right?

But it gets better! After your 5-box purchase the register will spit out a little coupon as a thank you gesture from General Mills. It's $4 off any gallon of milk. Now I don't know about you but we here at the Nash household cannot live out things like gas or milk. So whenever I get a coupon for those items I see it as free money because I have to buy it anyway, on sale or not.

So now $10 for 5 boxes of cereal is down to $6 for 5 boxes. That's $1.20 a box. On the GOOD cereal! Can't beat it. But hurry. I think the deal only lasts through Friday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When In Doubt

Dinner table conversation.

Me: William, what are you going to be for Halloween?

William: Go Guck! (Donald Duck)

Me: That's right! And then you're going to go outside with daddy and ring some doorbells. And what do you say when the people open their doors?

William pauses and thinks.

Me: Do you remember? What do you say?

William: Sorry!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday Night Recap: October 23

Eats: Homemade pumpkin soup with ciabatta bread rolls. Soup recipe to follow.

Drinks: A small glass of white wine for me. Brian may have had a couple, plus some beers.

Dessert: None. Are you kidding me? I was so full from that dinner!

Entertainment: The usual: The Office followed by Grey's.

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

This one takes some time but it's well worth the effort. I started making it during naptime and then reheated the pot on the stove and added the cream just before Brian got home. Everyone in my family was a happy camper.

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh pumpkin, roasted and diced*
1 tablespoon sage leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, apple, roasted pumpkin and sage until all are tender. Puree mixture in your gadget of choice. You can use a food mill, blender, food processor or hand blender. I used a food processor. Return the puree to the stockpot, add chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add cream and simmer for 5 more minutes. Do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*In the past I've never wanted to chop up a whole pumpkin so I've used squash instead. However, I was at Trader Joe's yesterday and found a whole bin of these handy dandy baking pumpkins. They are a little bit larger than an acorn squash and oh so easy to cut and roast.

To roast, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Then cut each half into quarters. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Let cool and then peel off the skin. The skin peels off a lot easier than I thought it would!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Positive to the Cold Weather

All my windows and doors are closed tight. Which means I can have a hoppin' dance party with my son in the middle of the day without curious ears from my neighbor friends.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Where have I been, you might ask? Snuggling in my new bed. Well, not new, but new for the season anyway.

Do you have steps to winterize your house? We do.

I turned over all the closets two weeks ago while I was completing my purging project. Yesterday Brian asked me what I was up to. "Changing up the beds," I replied. Normally changing the sheets, which happens about every other week around here, isn't a full day's task. But twice a year I take all the beds apart and prepare them for either winter or summer. I washed and ironed the duvet and shams. I also washed the mattress cover and the middle knit blanket. I even flipped and turned the mattress all by myself. A task that I believe nearly put me into labor.

But the best part of getting our bed ready for winter? Our feather bed! If you don't have one I highly recommend adding it to your Christmas list. Brian always says he has to set his alarm earlier the first night we sleep on the feather bed because he's sure to hit snooze an extra seven times or so.

I have said it before and many people who have had the pleasure of sleeping in our bed while we're away would agree with me. We have one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in. If I do say so myself. And one of the reasons is because bedding is the one item I refuse to skimp on. I may be thrifty in other areas but my bed is my sanctuary. When you live in tundra-like weather for six months out of the year you quickly learn that a bed is the only real place to get warm.

Even William sleeps in the lap of luxury and I swear it's one of the reasons why he's such a good sleeper. He sleeps on an extra soft fitted sheet, has a plush feather pillow and a twin-sized down comforter with a soft duvet cover. Oh, and I can't forget about his favorite blankie which is somehow still soft and snuggly after two years worth of washings. Once a child is past the swaddling and SIDS risk stage, I just don't understand how parents expect babies to sleep through long, cold nights on just a mattress with one small blankie. They're not much different from us!

Recently, however, I learned of a drawback to my appetite for expensive bedding. This summer I noticed a small tear in our fitted sheet. It was located right in the bottom corner of where Brian sleeps. Shocker there. Mister seizure-while-I-sleep man. Anyway what was once a small tear has gradually turned into a foot-long rip thanks to Brian's toe getting caught in it over and over. Finally he said he could take it no longer and demanded a new fitted sheet.

"Fine," I said, "but it's going to cost us!"

You see, we have 800-thread count sheets. If you are unaware of the price range for which these fall, Google it. Oh, and one more thing. Once you get into that price range, stores rarely sell these quality sheets in sets. You have to buy the fitted sheet separate from the flat sheet separate from the pillow cases. It adds up pretty fast which is why it's a great wedding registry item. Too bad we're already married and already received these as a gift.

So now, because I refuse to give up my ultra-soft sheets, Brian and I have been doing a week's worth of comparison shopping. This one's softer than this one. This one's cheaper than this one. This one's more expensive but it's on sale. You get the point.

In the meantime I reversed the fitted sheet so that the rip now resides up by my head but, for the most part, under my pillows. I only snagged a finger on it twice last night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday Night Recap: October 16

Eats: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese. Click here for the recipe but be warned that it wasn't my favorite dish. There were too many eggs and the time in the slow cooker was too long which caused the dish to be scorched a bit on the sides and the noodles to be overcooked. Have I wooed you to try it yet?

Drinks: None.

Dessert: Peanut butter cookies and a few Dove dark chocolates. Mmm, I almost need one just writing about it.

Entertainment: No TV. Brian had a Community Education class to attend from 7 until 10. William still went to bed early which meant I entertained myself by paying the bills, balancing our checkbook and taking a quick snooze on the couch. But Must See TV is on the DVR and waiting for us for tonight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Feel Good Fashion

Right now I'm at the stage in pregnancy where I don't quite feel beautiful everyday. Isn't it just so much easier once that bump is obvious? Right now it just looks and feels like a beer gut. My jeans still fit but boy do I have indent marks when I take them off a night. Pregnant or not here are a few things that always give me a boost when I look in the mirror.

1. A great pair of dangle earrings. Don't splurge, just scrounge the clearance rack at Target. Right now my faves are a simple pair of rather large silver hoops. Don't be afraid to go too big!

2. A lace bottom tank or camisole. This is a must during fall/winter/spring in Minnesota. I love cute sweaters but a lot of times they are itchy or too short so these work great underneath. I've found great colors at Kohl's and also those cheap-o teeny-bopper stores you see in the malls. Don't go for quality. You won't need it if it goes under everything.

3. A pair of toeless black heels. Yes, even in the middle of winter. They go with everything! I admit, I never wear these during the week while I'm out and about. But on the evenings and weekends they sure do make me feel like a grown-up when I'm out with the girls or just my hubby. Check clearance racks at Target, Payless, DSW or Famous Footwear.

4. Five-minute make-up. I usually don't put make-up on until after lunchtime but I do try to do it everyday because it just makes me feel put-together. If I'm really going out I spend a lot more time on my face, but if I'm just heading to the grocery store or even just hanging out at the house I can do the following in five minutes or less:
  • Apply concealer/foundation - just enough to do away with redness and blemishes
  • Stroke on some neutral-colored eye shadow
  • A few sweeps of a blush on my cheeks and then all over. (During the winter try for a muli-colored bronzer instead.)
  • Black mascara but ONLY on the top lashes. I used to always be a top and bottom lash kind of gal but my friend insisted I try just the top lashes. It took me about a week to get used to and now I love it. It makes the eyes pop so much more.
  • Finally, chapstick followed by my lip gloss of choice.
5. OK, here's the last one and it might be a bit of a splurge for some of you but it will last and it's worth it. A great fitting pair of jeans. And the best part? You really only need one pair. If you wash your jeans more than once a week they're not going to last you very long. Look for a lower rise and a slight flare opening in the legs. They look great on everyone. If you're not sure where to start try on a pair of Long and Leans from the Gap.

OK, your turn. What things are sure to pump you up when you're not feeling your most glamorous?

Monday, October 13, 2008


William and I are sitting in the car at the gas station waiting for Brian.

William: Ga Sha Shar! (Garbage Truck)

Me: No, that's just a truck buddy.

William: Ga Sha Shar!

Me: No, it's just a regular truck.


William: Ray-U-Yar Ga Sha Shar!

Thursday Night Recap: October 9

With all the traveling we had going on this past weekend I forgot to post my Thursday Night Recap with the best entertainment yet!

Eats: THANK YOU BRIAN! He brought home two steaming cups of soup, one broccoli cheddar and the other tomato bisque, and a turkey/spinach/artichoke sandwich for us to split.

Dessert: A few cookies for the boys. I didn't have any. I preferred stuffing myself with aforementioned.

Drinks: I don't think we (Brian) had any. That probably turned out to be a good thing. His body needed all the help it could get in preparing for Friday and Saturday night at the wedding celebrations.

Entertainment: We headed back to Target as a family to pick up the previously mentioned forgotten diapers. We played dress-up for an hour in the Halloween aisles. Lots of fun without one spent penny.

Weekend Plus Pictures

This weekend we closed out our 2008 Wedding Season with a cross-state double whammy. On Friday we traveled from Woodbury, MN to Alexandria, MN. On Saturday we traveled from Alexandria, MN to Eau Claire, WI. On Sunday we traveled from Eau Claire, WI back to Woodbury, MN. Mapquest it. It was quite a feat.

The highlight of the weekend was the 4-hour trip on Saturday where Brian and I got to sit in the car alone without any distractions. This includes both our son and the radio. We talked the entire way and never once mentioned the obvious subjects of jobs or kids. Those are the wonderfully rare moments that keep marriages strong.

Now we're back home and are ready to let our car rest for the rest of the Autumn. We have no overnight travel scheduled on our calendar until Christmas. Ahh...the beauty of not having to pack and unpack bags.

Today it's rainy and getting chilly. I'm enjoying a hot cup of apple cider (because my stomach still can't handle coffee quite yet) and I'm looking forward to catching up while William naps. In the meantime sit back and enjoy some pictures I've had stored in my camera.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Most Glorious Words

Brian to me on instant messenger: I'll take care of dinner tonight, ok?

Warning: Pregnancy Brain at Work

Last night after dinner I left clean-up and bathtime to Brian and headed out the door to run some errands I didn't get done during the day. One of those stops was, of course, Target. But it was a boring trip with just the basics on my list. Milk, bananas, tin foil, shaving gel, and diapers were among the items that topped my list.

Just before 8 o'clock I paid for my items and dashed out into the parking lot in hopes of making it home for a goodnight kiss. One missed deer later (a story for another time) and I was pulling into the driveway in the nick of time. I grabbed my purchases, put them on the kitchen counter to unpack later and ran upstairs to hear the ending of William's last bedtime book.

After he was snug as a bug I came back downstairs to put away all my Target items and then proceeded to lounge with hubby on the couch for the evening.

Fast forward to this morning. I wake up and go to get William out of bed. I lay him on the floor and reach into the storage basket to grab a diaper. The stash feels rather low. That's when I remember. DIAPERS! I never brought the diapers in from the car? No, worse. I never put the diapers into the car because I never grabbed the box from the bottom rack of my cart while I was in my rush in the parking lot!

At first I panicked. I mean the diapers were half the cost of my entire bill. But then I remembered it was Target and they would probably be willing to hear out my story. During breakfast I called up the store and before I could even finish explaining the lady told me she's had the box waiting for me since last night. **Sigh**

Running errands outside of the house was not on my list of things to do today but I guess so goes the penalty of pregnancy brain.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Culture of Fear

Today during our ECFE parent time our leader posed the question to our group of ten or more: "What is your biggest fear for your child?"

I was the last in the semi-circle to answer so I got to hear everyone else answer first while thinking about what I was going to say. I was shocked at some of the answers:


"Falling out of the window."


"Online predators/molesters."


"Being hit by a car."


When it came to my turn I responded in short that because William was faced with a critical illness for the first two weeks of his life, I didn't feel that I held any of those types of accidental or health-related fears today because I had already experienced that head on on day one of becoming a parent. And our family got through it with flying colors. Yeah it sucked while it was happening and sure I was scared every night I went to bed without my baby but we're here now and worrying about the everyday little things just seems like a waste of time when we have so much to celebrate.

But I think this topic deserves some more time and I realize that bringing it up will cause some disagreement and for that I welcome the discussion.

After class I was rethinking my answer and realized that I may have come off as a careless parent to some of the more overprotective ones in the group. And it's true that they may be shocked if they ever walked inside my house. We have no gates at the top or bottom of our staircase. We have no locks on our cabinets. We have no plastic plugs in our outlets. I think the biggest thing we did to baby-proof our house was to remove the remotes off the coffee table.

Am I careless in my parenting or am I just setting my child up for the real world? Our house is not William's playground to do with what he wants and let's be honest, nowhere we go with our children ever is. When he grew old enough to move around we set clear limits on where his play zones would be and those limits must transfer to any other place outside of our home. At first it was a struggle to constantly remove him from the stairs or tell him again and again, "No you cannot go in that cupboard!" But, like anything else, he finally got it.

I understand that accidents happen at the moment we least expect it but I truly feel that these baby-proofing inventions give all of us a false sense of security when all children really need is our undivided attention.

Here's my analogy. When crossing a street with a child you teach him to hold on to your hand, look left, look right, look left again, and if all is clear you cross the street. You don't build a bridge over the street to eliminate the chance of being hit by a car altogether. You have to teach and face situations head on.

OK, on to another of my big fear annoyances: illness. One mother, in class today, mentioned how she thinks the media is creating this culture of fear we live in. They make big stories out of rare events: school shootings, bus accidents, stranger abductions and the list goes on.

I couldn't agree more and shared with the class that I'm rather annoyed by my Parents magazine lately for featuring a story every month on a rare illness some child contracted that ended up having serious implications. The story always ends with a bulleted list of warning signs and they are always the most generic signs that every child has every other week! A runny nose. A loss of appetite. An unexplained fever. And before you know it you've completed your own diagnosis and you're sure your child is in dire straights.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think my child is above getting a rare form of something or other. William had less than a 1% chance of getting the illness he experienced as a newborn. The odds were against him and he got it anyway. But imagine how much less exciting my pregnancy and his birth would have been if all I did was worry about everything that could go wrong.

We could plan the most spectacular family vacation but if all I do is spend my time thinking about the chance that our plane could crash it throws a dark cloud over everything.

And that's how I feel about life as a parent. There are so many things out there that are beyond my control. So instead of losing sleep over it or trying to make every condition and situation perfectly sound I've decided to not become my child's net in case he falls. Instead I want to be a parent who is attentive, engaging and 100% present. And to me that means trying my best to teach him how to not fall in the first place. And at times, he will fall. Because every child does. And so I will help him pick himself back up and keep going.

When Brian got home from work I told him of our discussion in class today and asked him what his biggest fear for William was.

He said, "I don't really have a fear but more of a hope."

"OK," I said, "What's your hope then?"

"I hope he doesn't grow up to be a jerk."

Of course I had to laugh but doesn't that just hit the nail on the head? Instead fearing let's start hoping. Hoping that our children grow up to kind, generous and charitable human beings.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to Reality

Today everyone is back home and our daily routine has resumed. Truth be told, I was really ready for everyone to return come Sunday evening. After a while it just gets a little too quiet and I start to wonder what everyone else is up to.

Yesterday Brian called me when he was about a block away from our house and told me to meet him in the driveway. As soon as William saw me he started kicking his legs and shouting, "Mommy! Mommy!" I think he's at the age where he doesn't really realize he's been away from me until he comes back home.

I kept asking, "Did you miss Mommy?!"

He replied matter-of-factly, "I miss Mommy."

We snuggled for a while on the couch and before I knew it everything was back to normal. I was sternly telling him not to do that and not to touch this. It doesn't take long.

Brian had a great time as well. If you caught a bit of the game on TV you know it was beautiful football weather. Bright sunny skies with a bit of a chill in the air. But not that that would have mattered to him anyway. Does it matter to any guy? Anyway, here's the picture someone took of him on his cell phone camera in front of the famous Notre Dame Touchdown Jesus. Camera phone = no flash so you'll have to squint to see Brian at the bottom.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Think My House Feels Lighter

Oh the possibilities of what can be done in a day without interruptions. I couldn't figure out why I was getting so tired. Then I glanced at the clock and saw that it was already 10 o'clock! Time flies when you're having fun.


Sell on eBay.

Work clothes to donate to mom and sister.

Outgrown baby boy clothes to rotate to baby boy cousin.


All By Myself

Can you believe that for two whole years I've never been inside my own house by myself for more than a couple of hours? Well that's all about to change this weekend and I can't wait!

This morning Brian left with William at 10:30 and he won't be returning until Sunday evening. Brian and his dad are driving to South Bend, Indiana to see a Notre Dame football game. A dream and also a birthday gift (from last year) for Brian. A few weeks ago Brian's mom called and asked if she could take William this weekend. Since they just bought a new puppy, and we all know how William feels about dogs, I knew he would have a splendid time rather than sitting at home doing the same old, same old with mom. So off he went.

Brian gets his football game, William gets to play with a puppy and I get peace and quiet in my own house all weekend long. Everyone wins!

Now what might I do with my three whole days of freedom, you might ask? Go out with friends? Catch a movie? Maybe indulge in a spa treatment? The answer is none of those!

I'm tackling closets and I can't wait! I'm huge on organization and decluttering but it's difficult to keep on top of those when your free time is limited to a few hours a day (naptime). And those are the same few hours in which I'm also supposed to get everything else done. Not to mention that it's a little difficult to clean out a closet that resides in the same room your son is sleeping.

So now I have three glorious days to empty, sort and reorganize without little hands and feet getting in the way. It may not be the activity of choice for everyone but it's mine and I've got to get going because the clock's already ticking down!

Thursday Night Recap: October 2

Eats: Chicken Lo Mein from Trader Joe's. Sorry, this section might not get interesting until I get my appetite back.

Dessert: Homemade apple crisp with apples from the orchard.

Drinks: Nada for me or Brian. Me, for obvious reasons and Brian because he's going to Notre Dame this weekend to watch a football game so I think he was trying to spare his body.

Entertainment: The Vice Presidential Debate and this week's episode of Lipstick Jungle on DVR. I still can't believe Brian watches that show with me from start to finish every week.

The debate was a little on the boring side. I don't know, what do you guys think? I'm a huge Sarah Palin fan but Brian and I both agreed that if we have to hear the word "maverick" one more time we're going to scream!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

His Sixth Sense

Have you ever wondered how a mother can tell her identical twin babies apart? Well I'm not exactly sure myself but I'm pretty sure it's the same sense my son has when I stealthily try to give him an identical surrogate blankie during naptime so that I can wash the real one while he's sleeping.

No go.

"Nooooo bankie!"

Fine. You win. I guess I can wait to do the laundry until after naptime.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly

Today William and I wandered to downtown Minneapolis so we could visit daddy at work and so that I could have lunch with my former coworkers. After lunch I swung into Macy's for a bit to see what I might find. When I walked into the first floor I was greeted with a room completely decked out in Christmas decorations. It's the first day of October! Merry Christmas?

When I turned the stroller to walk through the Christmas room to get to the shoe department William's eyes lit up at all the twinkling lights and sparkly ornaments and he cried out, "Oooh! WOW!"

I couldn't agree more, baby boy. Can't they at least let me buy my pumpkin and eat my turkey first?
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